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How to Write a Light Novel

This guide is for the ever-busy writer who is into anime and manga but lacks drawing skills. The ultimate solution is to venture into light novels. Light novels, also called “ranobe” or “raito nobera” are Asian youth literature primarily published in Japanese and recently Chinese and Taiwanese. So how do you write a light novel?

Light novels span from a length of 20,000 words for an average novella to 50,000 words for an Average American novel. 

The industry of light novels is growing exponentially, so if you want to create awe-inspiring anime such as “Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya,” you’re in the right place!

Examples of Light Novels 

Japanese light novels are anything like traditional standard novels. Some classic examples of western light novels that were published in magazines are The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.

The most recognized modern daylight novel is The Worm which ran from June 2011 to November 2013. By the time the series ended, the novel’s word count was 16,482,400 and the author, John McCrae, also known as Wildbow had written 11,000 words per day. 

how to write a light novel
How to Write a Light Novel 3

It’s also highly perceived that Charles Dickens and Alexander Dumas were paid per sentence for their work so every chapter was maximized to the limit. 

If you aspire to feature in this prominent league soon, look at what’s in store for you below!

  1. Preparing to Write Your Light Novel 

Light novels don’t feature illustration, which means your main emphasis will be the writing style and minute details only. 

Note that not every light novel is “light” as the name implies. Some may be airy and carefree while others will have stories that are deep and emotional to intensify a bond with the audience. 

Light novels are also classified into genres which can be historical, romance, science fiction, horror or suspense. Identifying your genre makes it easier to channel themes into your light novel. For a more captivating story, you can mix and match different genres such as historical suspense and thriller or science fiction romance. 

As with any innovative project, if you want proper guidance on writing a light novel, you should go through a similar novel first. 

Light novels are heavily dependent on dialogue, so evaluate the characters, quotes and get an idea of the characters’ dialogue styles. But keep in mind the kind of audience you want to appeal to. If your target audience is Western, don’t overinvest your time in dialogue without giving a description. 

Try to incorporate more than one demographic in your light novel writing. For example, Original English Language “ranobe” are often flawed in that they are often laced with jokes or texts from the Japanese culture that only avid anime fans can relate to. But the average American reader who has never watch anime may be confused. 

  1. Planning Your Light Novel 

Even before beginning to write the chapters, you need to have a background story. Your storyline will give your light novel a sense of direction and a foundation.

It’s better to begin with, a rough outline when crafting a light novel. Not only is it simpler to flesh out the content by having an outline, but you also get to establish the flow of your story and prevent yourself from straying too far from the lines. 

Even pantser writers who claim to build their story as they write often have a rough outline at the back of their heads. 

Though it’s important to set the time for writing, don’t force yourself to write when you feel blocked. Give yourself time to collect your thoughts if you experience writer’s block. 

Create a schedule of days or time of the day when you have free time on your hands to pour your heart and soul into your light novel. 

Always flesh out characters before you start writing. There are times when you’re writing and a character suddenly pops up in your head, but don’t let all your characters “come to you” whenever you’re writing.

It’s always best to plan for your characters beforehand so that you can consider their personalities and build them. A relatable character incites an emotional connection. Think of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes who everybody loved- the connection was so deep that when Sir Arthur killed off the character, he received so many backlashes that he was forced to rewrite the ending to his series. 

 Your characters don’t have to evoke such emotional melodrama but it’s always important that they be well developed as well. 

  1. Writing Your Light Novel 

The First Draft 

The first step is to write your beginner draft. Sure it may be full of grammatical and spelling mistakes but at least you’ll have accomplished something, right?

Don’t be too hard on yourself as it is only a draft, meaning you can always edit whenever you want and as much as you want. After consistent re-tooling, you’ll finally have your first chapter.  Apply the same concept with the other chapters until you feel they’re ready to be publicized to the world. 

If you think your draft isn’t something you’d be eager to pick from a bookstore shelf, then it needs more re-tooling. 


The most important rule of writing any novel is to always ensure continuity. Continuity helps to guarantee your story has no plot holes or missing details that could confuse you. 

Light novels are supposed to be concise, elaborate and neat. It can be extremely annoying for readers to keep questioning why a character vanished without a trace only to discover that the writer forgot about it in the next sequel. 

If you’d want to avoid this embarrassment, always start your next installation by first reviewing what you previously published. 

When you’re advancing from chapter 1 to chapter 2, maintaining continuity might not be an issue, but when you’re at chapter 8 or 9 you need to go through your previous chapters so that you don’t leave out fine details. 


Cliffhangers are the best! When you want to capture your audience during light novel writing, it takes more than creating an enjoyable story. You’ve got to leave your readers craving for more! So you always want to end your chapter on a cliffhanger!

This technique not only applies to light novels but also series. Cliffhangers make the audience want to know what comes next. It makes the next chapter even more desirable and your readers will wait patiently to find out more. 

  1. Saving Your Light Novel 

 If you create your “ranobe” on your computer using a word processor, you’ll need to save the draft. But with LivingWriter, there’s no needs to hit “save”. LivingWriter automatically saves every word you type. 

With the help of these comprehensive guidelines, you’ll be a pro in writing a light novel with an intense storyline that makes your audience want more! 

So what are you waiting for? Start writing your light novel with LivingWriter! We offer a variety of time-tested story outlines to guarantee the right layout for your light novel. 

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